Whether you’re an ambitious traveller on the hunt for breathtaking views, a history enthusiast eager to soak up centuries of culture, or a foodie ready to try mouthwatering cuisine, visiting Portugal should be on everyone’s bucket list! From the charming cobblestone streets of Lisbon and Porto to the sun-kissed beaches of the Algarve, this enchanting country – located just west of Spain – promises every traveller an unforgettable experience.
Want to travel to Portugal with a other young internationals just like you? Make sure to check the calendar of our upcoming trip packages so you can spend a long weekend visiting Portugal with us!
In this ultimate Portugal guide, we will cover all the basics of Portugal travel to make sure you’re completely prepared for your trip. We’ll explore the best places to visit in Portugal as well as the best time of year to plan your trip. We’ll cover the most delicious dishes you have to try and the best souvenirs to bring back to your friends and family. So join us in our love for this beautiful country and get ready to plan a trip of a lifetime!
Keep reading to soak up everything we want to share with you about beautiful Portugal or skip ahead to the topic you’re most interested in by using our Content Overview!
- 1. Visiting Portugal – A Visual Adventure with Citylife Madrid
- 2. Travel to Portugal – Citylife’s Portugal Tours
- 3. Portugal Travel Guides – Best Things to do in Portugal & Location Guides
- 3.1 Travel to Portugal's Past – A Brief History of Portugal
- 3.2 Exploring Portugal's Cities & Beaches – Citylife’s Top Things to do in Portugal
- 3.3 Portuguese Food – Delicious Dishes you Have to Try
- 3.4 The Best Time of Year to Visit Portugal
- 3.5 Remembering your Trip to Portugal – Portugal Souvenir's to Bring Home
- 4. Portugal FAQ
1. Visiting Portugal – A Visual Adventure with Citylife Madrid
Join us on a virtual journey through Portugal’s breathtaking landscapes, medieval cities, and vibrant culture. Let our mesmerizing videos – which were all captured on past excursions – take you far away to the west of Iberia. We hope they inspire you to join us on one of our amazing Portugal tours in the future! For more videos, check out the Citylife YouTube channel or our reels on Instagram (@citylifemadrid).
2. Travel to Portugal – Citylife’s Portugal Tours
Every semester we take advantage of the national holidays and “festivos” in Spain to spend a long weekend travelling to Portugal! Over an incredible 4 or 5 days we will travel to cities like Lisbon, Porto, Sintra and Cascais, tasting incredible food and sipping delicious local wines. Our tours include transportation, accommodation, cultural tours and more! So take a look at all of our upcoming Portugal tours so you can travel to Portugal with other young internationals!
3. Portugal Travel Guides – Best Things to do in Portugal & Location Guides
At first, a trip to Portugal might seem no different than planning a trip to any other beautiful European country. And while there are many similarities with countries like Spain or Italy, travellers should make sure they prepare for their visit to Portugal so they don’t miss out on anything! Make sure you keep reading our professional insights on the top cities and locations to visit in Portugal, the top food to eat and even more travel tips that we know you’ll appreciate.
3.1 Travel to Portugal’s Past – A Brief History of Portugal
Portugal’s story begins with the early Iberian civilizations, where Phoenicians, Greeks, and Celts left their mark before the Romans established the province of Lusitania. With the fall of the Roman Empire, the Visigoths and Moors fought for control until the Christian Reconquista led by Afonso Henriques resulted in Portugal’s independence in 1143.
The Age of Discovery marked the height of Portugal’s history. In the 15th and 16th centuries, explorers like Vasco da Gama and Ferdinand Magellan explored uncharted waters, establishing trade routes to Africa, Asia, and the Americas. This era elevated Portugal to a global power, expanding its influence and wealth. The iconic Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery stand as a memory to this golden age of exploration.
The 17th to 19th centuries saw Portugal facing challenges, like the invasions of Spain and Napoleon’s armies, as well as severe economic decline. However, the establishment of a constitutional monarchy and the end of absolutism created the foundation for modern Portugal. The 20th century witnessed political unrest, with the Carnation Revolution in 1974 which brought the end of authoritarian rule and the emergence of democracy.
Today, Portugal is a vibrant European nation, celebrated for its cultural heritage, picturesque landscapes, and warm hospitality. The cobblestone streets of Lisbon, the vineyards of Porto and everything in between all carrying memories of the country’s rich history.
3.2 Exploring Portugal’s Cities & Beaches – Citylife’s Top Things to do in Portugal
Portugal is a country that invites all travellers to experience a wide range of cultures, food, people and history. From its historic and vibrant streets of its major cities, the charm of its small towns and the golden sands of its legendary beaches. Below we’ve collected our favourite articles about top things to do in Portugal that we are sure will inspire you to plan a trip. Each article will provide insights into the unique charm each location brings to this beautiful country and help you create an epic itinerary of your own!
The country famous for its delicious cuisine, and charming cities, also boasts…
When thinking about Portugal, there’s no doubt that Lisbon is the first…
As Portugal’s second largest city, Porto is sure to capture the hearts…
3.3 Portuguese Food – Delicious Dishes you Have to Try
Portugal is a food-lovers paradise! Whether you’re dreaming of juicy grilled sausage and seared steak, fresh seafood or decadent sweets and pastries – there is something for every traveller out there. And don’t think we forgot about Portugal’s world-famous wine either! In this article we cover it all, so make sure you check it out and get inspired (and hungry) for the next time you visit Portugal.
3.4 The Best Time of Year to Visit Portugal
If you’re curious about the best time of year to visit Portugal then look no further! In truth, Portugal’s Mediterranean climate makes it a year-round destination. However, some seasons are more pleasant than others and it all depends on your personal preference.
Winter (December to February): Winters in Portugal are relatively mild, especially along the coast, with temperatures ranging between 10°C-16°C (50°F-60°F). While the winter weather in Portugal may be cooler, it is still comfortable for exploration and tours. Just make sure you bring your rain jacket because there might not be snow on the ground, but there could be lots of rain!
Spring (March to May): Arguably the best time of year to travel to Portugal – spring is vibrant, warm and still out of season enough to avoid major crowds. Spring temperatures usually land between 15°C-20°C (59°F-68°F), which means there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Keep that rain jacket packed though, because spring can still bring on bouts of rain.
Explore Lisbon, Porto, Sintra and beyond on Citylife’s Portugal tour packages every spring! See all current dates on our Portugal travel calendar.
Summer (June to August): Summer in Portugal is hot and dry with lots of sun. In fact, Lisbon is often considered the sunniest capital in Europe! Temperatures average between 26°C-30°C (79°F-86°F). Portugal’s famous beaches are heaven on earth during the summer season, especially the Algarve region. However, be prepared for huge crowds, especially in Lisbon, Porto and the coastal zones. In addition to crowds, be prepared for a surge in prices at hotels and other tourist attractions. While Portugal is far from expensive in comparison to other European cities, summer prices will surprise you!
Autumn (September to November): Another season that can be considered the best time of year to visit Portugal – autumn can feel like a lighter summer with its sunny skies and warm temperatures. Ranging between 15°C-22°C (59°F-70°F) the streets will still be brimming with people, but not as much as the summer seasons which will allow you to enjoy everything the country has to offer.
Explore Lisbon, Porto, Sintra and beyond on Citylife’s Portugal tour packages every autumn! See all current dates on our Portugal travel calendar.
3.5 Remembering your Trip to Portugal – Portugal Souvenir’s to Bring Home
We have no doubt that when you visit Portugal it will leave a perminant mark on your soul. Not long after you return you’ll be wanting to to relive all the amazing experiences from your trip and having a nice collection of souvenirs will help make that easier! Keep reading for our top recommended souvenirs that you can pick up all over Portugal.
Portugal is the world’s leading producer of cork and they have found some really fun way to use this sustainable material! From cork hangbags, wallets and hats to homedecor and sportsgear. Bring home a peice of Portugal that you can use every day to keep memories of your trip alive!
Portuguese Tiles (Azulejos):
Azulejos are hand-painted ceramic tiles with intricate patterns and vibrant colors. They are not only visually stunning but also tell stories of Portugal’s cultural and history. While you obviously can’t bring home Porto’s famous train station, you’ll find no shortage of mini souvenir tiles for sale all over the country.
Surprise both your taste buds and your eyes with a uniquely Portuguese souvenir – canned sardines or “sardinhas”. Even if you have no intention of eating the sardines, these famous packages are so colourful and eye-catching that you’ll love to store these on a shelf in your home.
Give your wine collection an upgrade with a bottle of Portugal’s iconic Port wine. Originating from the Douro Valley, near the city of Porto, this fortified wine is known for its rich, sweet flavor. A bottle of Port wine serves as both an impressive souvenir and a taste of Portugal’s winemaking skills.
Cover yourself with elegant Portuguese filigree jewelry. Crafted in silver or gold, these intricate, thin, handmade pieces draw inspiration from traditional figures. Filigree techniques, are passed down through generations and generations. Resulting in stunning, unique jewelry that will always remind you of Portugal.
Galo de Barcelos
The Galo de Barcelos is a perfect, fun and quirky souvenir to bring home from your trip! This ceramic Rooster is a symbol for good luck and good fortune in Portuguese culture. Displaying one of these in your home will be a charming reminder of your time in this welcoming country.
4. Portugal FAQ
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